TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Blue Jays will play at PNC Park in Pittsburgh if the state of Pennsylvania approves it, two officials familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
The agreement to share the stadium with the Pirates is pending state approval, according to the officials who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Wednesday because they were not authorized to speak ahead of the government decision.
Canada denied the Blue Jays’ request to play in Toronto because the regular-season schedule would require frequent travel back and forth from the United States, where COVID-19 cases are surging. Canada has flattened the epidemic curve.
Pirates President Travis Williams previously confirmed the talks to host the Blue Jays and sounded ready to welcome them if it could be done safely. Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said he was excited about the PNC Park option and Pirates manager Derek Shelton said he would have no problem with the Blue Jays moving in.
The Pirates are led by former Blue Jays executive Ben Cherington.
Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said this week his team has more than five contingency plans for a home stadium and was in talks with other teams. He declined to name them.
Atkins said if the Blue Jays can’t find a major league park, their Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, New York, would be their most likely site for home games. But based on what the players want and the collaboration they are getting from other teams and Major League Baseball, Atkins said the Blue Jays are focused on major league parks, as long as they can be safe. He said health and safety is the priority, so the ability to be socially distant without comprising other teams’ ability to maintain socially distance is important.
Toronto begins the season at Tampa Bay on Friday and is scheduled to play its first home game on July 29 against defending champion Washington.
The team had been considering playing home games at its training facility in Dunedin, Florida, but that is among the states that are virus hot spots.